The Effects of Slavery on African-Americans
Slavery obviously had no small affect on the lives of millions of African-Americans in America. Both the North and South had strict rules on how the race was placed in society, rules that placed them far beneath any social class in America. It could be said that even free slaves, could never actually be “free” due to a complete lack of social equality granted by the American Government. Blacks were treated as something less than a human being, something like a product; this product was sold and traded around the country, and was the basis of the entire country’s economy.
Working in the fields from dusk to dawn not only hindered African-American’s physically, but also exhausted them in the social and mental aspects of life. Slavery affected the lives of African-Americans in the South and the North by hindering them socially, mentally, and physically. Socially, African-American’s were at the complete bottom of the list. Even the backwoods, workless “hillbillies” who lived nearly as harsh of lives as the African-Americans did were well above the slaves in social aspects.
African-Americans in the South were completely deprived of any sort of education, including the simple knowledge of reading and writing. Black schools in the North were much despised, in one case, a school dedicated to the teaching of African-Americans was drug into a pond by a group of local whites. Blacks, horribly mistreated had virtually no legal rights, and could not even testify against a white person in court. This meant that no matter how brutally a slave was beaten, he could not do a thing about it.
The “free” blacks had little freedom also, and were treated as a kind of “third race” in society. These people were essentially slaves still, only without a master. Secondly, African-Americans were hindered very much in the mental aspect. Blacks had no hope of social mobility in their country and recognized this. This, to many blacks became a degrading truth. They also felt deprived of their dignity and responsibility in the world. Knowing all of these depressing truths, many blacks esentially gave up and stopped putting so much effort into their role in society.
Thus began the stereotype of the “lazy” African-American, who did just enough to get by, or purposely destroyed machinery in hopes of dodging work. Treatment of blacks within the family varied, some blacks in the upper South were treated as family while blacks in the deep South were whipped and branded on a regular basis. Lastly, the most apparent type of abuse that the African-Americans had to deal with was the physical abuse. Blacks toiled in the fields of cotton from dusk to dawn during their long work days.
Masters were allowed to punish their slaves as they pleased, allowing them to whip their slaves if they weren’t pleased with their effort. The Government offered no real type of protection to slaves due to the law that forbidded any African-American to testify against a white in court. Even African-Americans that were finally free had to fear that they may be recaptured at any moment, and they could do nothnig about it. In the North, blacks were definitely a rare race. The blacks that were seen were discriminated against significantly, some blacks weren’t even allowed entrance to certain states!
In conclusion, African-Americans were placed at the pit of society throughout the 19th century. They had virtually no rights, and were worked tirelessly for a lifetime. African-Americans were not only exhausted by physical work, but they were also beaten in the mental and social aspects. Blacks almost always kept hope, and used the idea of being a free black as motivation, though this third race didn’t have such a well-off life either. Slavery affected the lives of African-Americans in the South and the North by hindering them socially, mentally, and physically.